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May 2017 Wrap-Up

I can’t believe it’s already June! This year is speeding by.  My May has been full of weddings, work, and auditions! Real life got in the way a bit, but I still found some time to get my reading in! Thank you NYC subway…

Books Read:

Favorite Book of the Month:

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Books Purchased:

Currently Reading:

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May Reviews:

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Top Ten Tuesdays:

Top 10 Tuesday: Love at First Sight 5/2/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist 5/9/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Bad Ass Literary Moms 5/16/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Summer Lovin’ 5/23/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017 5/30/17

 

I have a few exciting things coming up in June, and I am ready to jump into it! Here’s to another great month my fellow bookworms 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books For the 2nd Half of 2017

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish was “Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017!” I kind of struggled with this one a bit because I am in the middle of several older series, and haven’t been paying enough attention to new releases lately.  I still have a bunch to be excited about though!

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A Column of Fire by Ken Follett-September 2017: Ken Follett’s historical fiction are up there in my top favorite books of all time, so when I found out that my favorite books were getting a new addition, I freaked out a bit. I CANNOT WAIT for this book.

 

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One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake– September 19th, 2017: I was dying for this book the minute I finished Three Dark Crowns.  September 19th can’t come fast enough.

 

 

34037113The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman– October 10th, 2017: I love anything to do with witches, and I loved Practical Magic, so I am ready to find out more about the Owens family!

 

 

32708664Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkein and Christopher Tolkein– June 1st, 2017: It’s another trip into Middle Earth… Need I say more?

 

 

 

33368917The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory– August 8th, 2017: I really enjoy all of the Philippa Gregory books I have read, and I always look forward to her next one.

 

 

32076675The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder– June 6th, 2017: Who doesn’t love a dysfunctional family and a wedding? In the height of wedding season, I am so ready for a fun family dramedy.

 

 

32926258The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman-July 25th: The circus fascinates me, so when I found this book I was instantly intrigued.

 

 

 

30312855The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell– July 18th, 2017: I am constantly looking for new Fantasy series, and this one caught my eye immediately with its cover.

 

 

33607640The Address by Fiona Davis-August 1st, 2017: I am a sucker for flashback stories, and this one sounds like its right in the pocket for me.  I love the 1800’s and the 1980s, what could be better?

 

 

Doors Of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss– ????: One can only dream….

Book Reviews

A Court of Thorns and Roses

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                A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Summary: Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

My Thoughts: OK. There was so much hype about this series.  It has been plastered all over Instagram and the blogosphere for a while now, plus it was recommended to me by multiple friends.  I decided I couldn’t wait any longer, and I started it, despite the fact that description didn’t really call to me. I’m not gonna lie, it took me a while to actually become invested in the story.  For the first big chunk of it, I couldn’t get past the “Beauty and the Beast” vibe. Once I got over that, and deeper into the plot, I started to see what the hype was about.  The last half of the book is amazing, and made up for the slow beginning ten times over.  I almost missed my train stop because I was so into it!  Feyre grew on me throughout the book.  She is a bad-ass, and she doesn’t have any of the “holier than thou” attitude that I feel like a lot of YA heroines have.  She does what she has to do to survive and then she handles the consequences.  My biggest complaint about the book is Tamlin.  He is so vanilla, and I didn’t feel the passion that would inspire her to go to the lengths she goes to in the end.  I kept waiting for this all consuming love, and he was just boring.  I felt like a lot of their relationship development happened off the page, and we didn’t get to see enough of it for me to get into the meat of it.  On the other hand, I was immediately drawn to Rhysand.  I got him right away, and the more we learned about him, the more I liked him.  He definitely has something there under the surface, and they have undeniable chemistry.  From the first time we met him, he had my interest way more than Tamlin ever did.  I’m shipping them hard core.  I’m excited to get to the second book, because I think/hope that there will be a development there for them… Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and now I get the hype.  I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Lovin

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been OBSESSED with the movie Grease. Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme from The Broke and the Bookish was a Summer Freebie, I thought what’s better than some “Summer Lovin’?” Here are some of my favorite love stories to heat up your summer!

7135858My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares:  A few summers ago, I devoured this book.  I have always been fascinated with past lives, and this book does a fantastic job of exploring it in a beautiful and romantic way.  The love story literally spans centuries, and is extremely poignant and magical.

 

10964Outlander by Diana Gabaldon:  For me, Jamie and Claire’s love can’t be beat.  James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser might be my favorite male fictional character of all time.  Although long, this book, and their love, is so engrossing that you won’t be able to put it down. Plus, there are plenty more books in the series, and the TV show, to keep you going after you’re done (although they’re not as good as the first one in my opinion).

138202Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty: I read this book when I was 16, and it was incredibly relatable and hilarious.  I followed the entire series, and aged with Jessica and Marcus which kept everything they were going through so relevant to me.  Their love story is real, and sweet, and a perfect mess.

 

18405Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: One of my favorite dysfunctional love stories, Gone With the Wind is a classic for a good reason.  It is a perfect summer read.  It’s epically long and beautiful, Scarlett is an amazingly complex anti-hero, and Rhett Butler is just downright sexy.

 

19448All-American Girl by Meg Cabot: This book gave me my first recognizable book hangover ever.  I fell in love with these characters, and their awkward teenage love blooming in the White House.  This book is one of the reason’s I am obsessed with Meg Cabot.

 

3975186True Colors by Kristin Hannah: If you want a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking romance, then this is the book you want.  It is very emotional, without being over the top, and is an example of Kristin Hannah at her finest.  I love all of her books, but this one might take the cake.

 

8667848A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: At first this book may seem like a grown-up Twilight, but it is actually a lot more complex and well written.  As someone who loves witches, I was instantly drawn into this book and its concept.  The relationship between Diana and Matthew feels really real among the fantasy of the world.

 

42156Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin: A little unconventional love triangle between a girl, her best friend, and her best friend’s fiance, Something Borrowed is light- hearted, romantic, and page turning.  It will give you all the feels, with lovable characters, and in my opinion, an even better sequel.

 

301082 Dead Until Dark: I am obsessed with The Sookie Stackhouse Series, aka Trublood. The books are different from the TV show, for those of you who are fans, and they are super easy and fun reads.  Sookie is awesome, and her romantic trysts are always very entertaining and steamy. (#TeamEric)

Book Reviews

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Goodreads Summary:  Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

My Thoughts: This book was different from what I anticipated.  I thought it would be a light, “chick-lit,” book, and while it was a very easy and enjoyable read, I found it to be much deeper than I had expected.  It deals with a lot of important issues, and does it in a way that is both informative and sensitive, yet still entertaining.  Moriarty has a quick and witty style, and I appreciated that each character had their own distinctive voice within it.  I loved that the chapters were short and interspersed with the interviews of the rest of the community.  It really developed the mystery surrounding the “incident,” and also provided a great commentary on gossip and how it can affect everyone’s perception.  The three main characters, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane, seemed like real, flawed people, which made it easy to connect and sympathize with them.  They all are dealing with difficult and complicated issues, and I think that Moriarty did an amazing job of tackling them in a realistic way.  The plot was so intriguing, and the release of tiny bits of information kept me turning the page to find out more.  I did guess the big twist before the end, but it didn’t give me any less satisfaction when I got there.  I wanted to read this book after all the buzz around the TV show, and I am glad that I did.  I do admit that I pictured the actors while reading, despite the differences in description.  Watching the show after finishing the book, I have to say that I enjoyed the book more.  They added more drama for TV, which I understand, however; it lost the simplicity that I appreciated in the book.  Every little detail meant more, especially in Madeline’s relationship with her daughter and ex husband.  I also thought that the TV show weakened Jane’s character.  Her growth in the book is one of the most meaningful and beautiful developments of the story, and I didn’t feel like we got to see that in the show.  That said, if I had not read the book, I would have thought that the show was amazing.  Overall it was very well done, and the acting is fantastic.  This was my first time reading anything from Liane Moriarty, and I will definitely be checking out the rest of her work.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bad-Ass Literary Moms

In honor of all the amazing mothers out there, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme from The Broke and the Bookish was a “Mother’s Day Freebie,” so I decided to pay tribute to my favorite Bad-Ass Literary Moms!

  1. Molly Weasley- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: Molly is the epitome of a super mom.  She is there, not only for her own children, but for everyone that she brings into her family.  She cares deeply, loves fiercely, and is a really bad ass witch. Enough said.
  2. Cersei Lannister- A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin: Cersei may be a manipulative and cruel queen, but no one can deny her fierceness in motherhood.  It may not be morally correct, but she will do anything, and I mean anything, to see her children come out on top. That makes her a bad-ass mom in my book.
  3. Celia Lytton- The Spoils of Time Trilogy by Penny Vincenzi: Celia is a powerhouse in both her family and her company.  Her ambition for herself and her loved ones pushes them all to get the most out of their lives.  She may not show her love in obvious ways, but there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her family.
  4. Maud Fitzherbert- The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett:  Maud was easily my favorite character in the first book, Fall of Giants.  In the second book, she made me love and admire her even more.  Her morals and strength keep her family from falling to pieces among the horrors of Nazi Germany.  She steps up, against the odds, and does what she has to do to protect the people she loves.  She is the definition of a bad-ass.
  5. Madeline Martha Mackenzie- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: Madeline is a fiery person.  She loves drama, and tends to over react, but her passion is the biggest thing that makes her a kickass mom.  She may overstep her boundaries, but it always comes from a place of love and wanting the best for her family.
  6. Claire Beauchamp- The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon:
    Claire sacrifices everything in order to raise her daughter, including crossing the boundaries of space and time, and giving up her true love.  She continues to do whatever it takes to give her daughter a beautiful life, regardless of her own happiness. She always puts her daughter first.
  7. Ellen- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: Ellen is a strong woman, in a time when that wasn’t always appreciated.  She knows what she wants and stands her ground for what she believes in, and teaches her son to do the same.  That’s pretty bad ass if you ask me.
  8. Clarisse Grimaldi Renaldo- The Princess Diaries Series by Meg Cabot: You may have seen the Princess Diaries movies, but the Dowager Princess Clarisse Marie Grimaldi Renaldo from the Princess Diaries book series is nothing like Julie Andrews.  She is snobbish, elitist, rude, and fabulous!  Her relationship with Mia is strained to say the least, but it is also hilarious, and she is taking care of an entire country after all.  She is a huge part in training Mia to be the best queen she can be. She might not be a typical bad ass mom, but I love her.
  9. Kate Mularkey- Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah: Kate is the quintessential mom, but not only is she an amazing mother to her children, she is also a mother to her best friend Tully.  She is the quiet strength, support, and groundedness that Tully lacks from her own mother. She takes care of everyone and always puts her loved ones before herself.
  10. Iza- The Earth’s Children Series by Jean M. Auel: Ayla’s adoptive mother, Iza, stands up to everyone when she takes Ayla in, regardless of her differences from “the Clan,” and the animosity that everyone feels towards Ayla’s people.  She fights for her daughter’s acceptance and teaches Ayla everything she needs to survive in an Ice Age world.  Despite their differences, she loves her daughter unconditionally, and protects her to the end.

Who are your favorite bad-ass literary moms? Do you agree with mine? Who did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist

This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish was “Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist.”  I had fun with this theme.  I had some immediate ideas that popped into my head, but I had to think hard to get to 10. What’s on your reading wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!

  1. Developed love stories: There are too many contrived romances out there. I want more love stories that feel real and are given enough time and detail for us to really believe in the couple and their relationship.
  2. Turn of the 20th Century: I am so interested in this time period. I can’t get enough. Give me more Downton Abbey, more World War I, more industrial revolution, and more societal propriety. I want it all.
  3. Better Denoument: The worst thing is when you get through a book (or series) that is so exciting and amazing for the first two thirds, and then the end just fizzles. I want more books with dynamite and thoughtful endings.
  4. More epic family sagas: I love me a good family drama.  Especially when it is spread out over a few generations and/or books and you really get into the nitty gritty of the family dynamics. I want more.
  5. Secure women: I would love to see more heroines in books that are unapologetically confident, and actually like themselves. Enough of the self-pity, and the character’s journey being about learning to accept herself.  Give me a story about a girl who already knows who she is, and then does something amazing with it.
  6. More Witches: Always more witches.  I’ve been fascinated by magic for as long as I can remember, and I am always in the mood for a story about magic. I would love to see more stories about witches in normal life versus a fantasy world too, Sabrina or Charmed style.
  7. Middle class protagonists in dystopian novels: I feel like most main characters are usually on an extreme side of the societal hierarchy. I would love to see how someone in the middle of the spectrum deals with the chaos of their dystopian world.  I think it would be an interesting viewpoint and could have some really unique story telling.
  8. Books set in the Mid-West: As a mid-western girl myself, it would be cool to see a story that takes place in middle America that isn’t about getting out of it, or using it for its “small towns.”  There is so much more to the mid-west than that.
  9. Books about the entertainment industry: I have yet to find a fiction novel that accurately portrays what it is like to be a part of the entertainment industry, theatre specifically.  Most are overly glamourized.  Give me the truth!  It would also be cool to be able to show my non-actor friends what it’s really like by giving them a novel.  The entertainment world is very hard to explain to people who aren’t involved in it.
  10. The 1950’s: I used to check out books about the 1950’s from my school library in elementary school, and I was even a 1950’s girl for Halloween in first grade. Part of it was my obsession with the movie Grease, but I became enthralled by that time period, and I would love to read more stories about people in that time.  I’ll dig out my poodle skirt and have a malted milk shake while I read too.
Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Love at First Sight

I am super excited to join the Top Ten Tuesday meme from The Broke and the Bookish, with my first Top Ten list! Today’s topic is  a “Cover Theme Freebie,” so I am giving you my Top Ten Love at First Sight Books.  All of these books instantly attracted me by their covers alone, and ended up being worth it.  After making this list, I realized that all of these covers have similar elements, which I thought was interesting and really highlights what I am drawn to when choosing a new book.

187128861. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: I first saw this book at Target and immediately fell in love with it before even reading the synopsis.  It just looked like something that would be right up my alley, and I was right.  I ended up loving the entire trilogy (all with equally gorgeous covers).

 

36822. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: I love this cover.  It is so gorgeous, dark, and mysterious.  I remember finding this in the store back in high school and not being able to put it down because I was so drawn to cover, and I had to know what was inside of it.  I was not disappointed.

 

283740073. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: I was super intrigued by this cover and picked it up right away to see what it was about.  I loved the simplicity and power that it has, and it gives you a good idea of the tone of the book as well.  I loved that it was darker and more vicious than a normal YA novel. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

 

86945224. The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston: I love anything to do with witches, so the title of this one, along with the image on the cover made me do a double take.  There is a magical quality to the picture that drew me in.  I also want the boots she is wearing.

 

12549515. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen: My favorite era to read about is the turn of the century, so when I found The Luxe, I knew from the cover that I was going to love it.  It is to this day, one of my favorite YA series, and I would die for it to be turned into a TV show.  I even got my non-reading sister to try it because she liked the cover too.

 

161137916. The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen: I found this book while browsing on my kindle, and was in the mood for a good, easy romance novel.  This book immediately caught my eye with its cover, so I bought it and I ended up finishing it that same night.  It is a super fast read, full of teen angst, drama and romance.  They also deal with some pretty real issues that I was not expecting.

8167207. The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho:  I found this on my best friend’s bookshelf, and I was drawn in by the contrast of the dark blue background and brightness of the woman, and her pose.  However; this book turned out to be very different than I expected from the cover, but I loved what I found.  It is beautifully written, and I loved the air of mystery surrounding the main character.

10507293 8. The Selection by Kiera Cass: I’ll be honest.  The main reason I wanted to read this series is because of the dresses on the cover.  After hearing a friend tell me what they were about and that they were actually good, I finally picked it up and read the whole series in a week.  They’re not the deepest of novels, but they were super entertaining and they look really nice on my bookshelf.

9. 10002296Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman:  My eyes went straight to the bright colors of this book on a table at Barnes and Noble.  I immediately wanted to know the story of the woman on the cover.  I devoured this book.  I brought it on a plane, and I could not put it down the entire flight.  I love a good historical fiction, and this one really hit the spot.

 

2218810. Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar:  I found the Gossip Girl series in middle school, and I wanted to read it because the girls on the covers were so dynamic and lets be real, I wanted to be them.  I finished the whole series, and gobbled up the TV show (even though they are very different and almost unrelated after the first season).  The series is delightfully dramatic and the books are super quick and easy reads.